Interview: Steel Panther
Mon, 14 Jul 2014 09:33:18
"The fans come to our shows to fucking unleash," proclaims Steel Panther drummer Stix Zadinia.
That's what audiences have been doing worldwide too, and they'll get a chance to do it again when Steel Panther hits the road with Judas Priest this year. If you haven't seen Steel Panther live, you haven't lived. It's a sensory onslaught of flawless musicianship, hilarious lyrics, gigantic sing-a-longs, and one or ten girls all too eager to take off their clothes on stage. It's everything that heavy metal should be and hasn't been in way too long. It's that release that Stix so eloquently describes. Right now, the boys are promoting their biggest and best offering yet All You Can Eat, and they're well on their way to taking over rock 'n' roll everywhere.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Steel Panther talks All You Can Eat, touring with Priest, and so much more.
It's pretty awesome you're touring with Judas Priest.
Dude, what other metal band is more rad than Judas Priest?
You said that. I didn't say it [Laughs].
Was this a lifelong dream for all four of you?
Well, not to sound like a dick, but Lexxi Foxx's favorite band of all-time was Danger Danger. So, I don't know if this is a lifelong dream for Lexxi Foxx. I think his lifelong dream would be to tour with Danger Danger. I know this is a close second for him. It is an absolute dream-come-true for the rest of us though because Judas Priest has been an influence on all of us. They're a fucking amazing band. To be able to go out and tour with them and support them is incredible. How many bands get to do that? I know it's not a lot. I feel very fortunate to be one of those bands.
Have you met the Judas Priest guys prior to this tour?
Scott Travis has gotten up and jammed with us. Richie Faulkner has too. This will be the first time I've met Rob Halford. Satchel knows Rob. Judas Priest had to put their stamp of approval on it. From what I've heard, they're pretty excited to go out and rock with us.
How is the show changing as you continue touring behind All You Can Eat?
We're playing one hour in front of Judas Priest, which is pretty awesome. Normally, an opening band will get thirty-five or forty minutes, maybe. We're doing an hour. We're bringing as big of a set as we can bring. I don't want to ruin any surprises, but we're going to go out there and get the crowd as fired up as possible for Priest to come out and kick ass. It's going to be a one-two punch that if you don't get a ticket to this show, you will be sad because all of your friends will be talking about it the next day.
What ties All You Can Eat together for you?
Well, we intentionally wanted to paint a whole heavy metal picture with the album. We wanted to make it balanced evenly. We also wanted to fill holes musically—pun intended [Laughs]. They're holes we haven't filled before. We wanted to have songs with different grooves and songs that fit together like a puzzle to make a complete picture. That was very intentional with All You Can Eat.
You guys have always been a very versatile band, and this album shows the dynamics from the acoustic to the heavy.
I appreciate that. It was intentional to have a ripper like "Pussywhipped". Then, you have "Gloryhole". You go into almost Journey-ish beautiful choruses with "You're Beautiful When You Don't Talk" and "Bukkake Tears". Even though the subject matter is not necessarily something Journey would sing about, I think Journey would dig the choruses and hooks in those songs. We sing about things most bands won't go near because we really don't give a fuck. At the end of the day, we're not in this to sell records at Wal-Mart. Otherwise, we would've changed our lyrics from the very beginning. We provide an outlet for people who just want to have a fucking time and listen to great songs that are lyrically said in a way that most people talk in their everyday lives with their friends. We happen to put it to song.
What's the story behind "If I Was The King"?
Satchel wrote that. He writes most of the songs. The songs can come from anywhere. We could be jamming at a soundcheck with a drum groove, and he'll start riffing. We'll go, "Hold on, that's bitching!" We'll record it on our iPhones and take it home. I can't remember if that was a soundcheck riff or Satchel came up with it. When it comes to recording the lyrics, all four of us are there for all of the vocal sessions because everybody chips in at the end of the day. Whoever has the line that we all feel is the best to say what we're trying to say will go down. At the end of the day, there's not one song that goes out that all four of us aren't totally stoked on. We're all there for all of the vocal sessions. Actually, everyone is there for almost all of the sessions except for the guitar. Satchel will be there for the bass. I won't usually go for the bass because I'm too busy getting high [Laughs]. Everybody has to put his approval on the mixes though too.
What song from the record speaks to you the most right now?
I think it's "If I Was The King". We've been doing it live, and it's been going off. We did it in Belgium at a big festival called Graspop. The whole place started jumping up and down, and they were clapping over their heads to the beat. It's really fun to play.
If you were to compare All You Can Eat to a movie or a combination of movies, what would you compare it to?
The cinematic equivalent of All You Can Eat would be a combination of Star Wars, Kramer vs. Kramer, Dumb and Dumber, and E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial [Laughs].
What have you been listening to lately?
Envy on the Coast has been on my mp3 player for the past few weeks. I've been listening to Big Wreck. The guy's name is Ian Thornley. He's also got a band called Thornley, and he's fucking great. He's what Chris Cornell started out as—as far as a singer. He wails. The hooks are so fucking good. I've been listening to those two albums a lot lately. You know what I listen to on the road? There's a London Philharmonic album where they do all Led Zeppelin songs. When I'm trying to go to sleep, I put that on, and it's fucking pretty rad. If you get a chance, check it out. It's the London Philharmonic doing Zeppelin. The version of "Kashmir" will freak your face out.
What do you dig about going to Europe?
In America, there are so many things that people have at their disposal as far as entertainment goes. They've got all of these XFM and Sirius channels and cable channels. There's so much shit coming at them it's hard to get them to focus and become really loyal to one thing because there are so many things. In Europe, rock 'n' roll is the thing that people connect with and bond over with each other. It's way more of a lifestyle thing over there, and it's part of their culture. People go to these festivals for three days and camp. They plan this shit a year or two in advance. It's part of their lives. Metal in the U.S. is secondary to people's lives in general. Over there, it feels more primary. They build their lives around music. In the States, people build music around their lives. That's how it feels. That's not to say American fans don't fucking rock. People ask me, "How does it feel to play in New York or St. Louis as opposed to Germany?" When the doors close and our fans are in the venue, it all tends to feel the same. Because of our band, people come to party. It's not like people are coming to get all introspective and be serious.
What's your favorite Steel Panther song?